Important Things to Do Before You Even Think About Getting a Divorce
Texas law requires both spouses to live in the state for six months prior to filing for divorce. If one party does not meet this requirement, the court cannot grant a divorce unless there are extraordinary circumstances. There are several ways to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
Step 1 – Make sure you are eligible for a divorce under Texas residency requirements. You must live in Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce. This applies even if you do not want a divorce.
Step 2 – Find out whether your spouse meets the same residency requirements. If he or she does not, you might still qualify for an uncontested divorce if you can prove that extraordinary circumstances exist. These include situations where one spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated, or lives outside of Texas.
Step 3 – Prepare your forms. Once you know whether you are eligible for an uncontested divorce and what documents you must provide, it is time to prepare your paperwork. You will need to file for divorce within three days of giving notice to your spouse.
Step 4 – Give notice. In addition to providing proof of residency, you will need to notify your spouse of your intention to file for divorce. You can send him or her a letter or email. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and date of birth.
Step 5 – File in person. After giving notice, you will need to go to the county clerk’s office to complete the divorce papers. You will need to bring your marriage certificate, along with evidence of residency.
Step 6 – Serve your spouse. Once you have filed for divorce, it is time to serve your spouse with divorce papers. You will likely need to hire a lawyer to assist you.What to Do Before Filing for Divorce in Texas
Before filing for divorce in Texas, couples must make sure they are eligible for the procedure. This includes meeting the residency requirement and completing the proper paperwork.
The residency requirement states that one party must have lived in the state for six months prior to filing. If either spouse does not live in Texas, the couple will need to prove they intend to move there within 90 days of filing.
Once both spouses qualify, they will need to fill out the appropriate forms. To do this, they will need to go to the county clerk's office where they filed for divorce. They will need to provide proof of identities, such as a driver's license or passport. They will also need to show proof of residence, including utility bills, bank statements, pay stubs, etc.Texas Residency Requirements
The residency requirements are part of a law passed in 2017 called SB 991. It took effect on January 1, 2018, and applies to divorces filed on or after that date. Divorcees living in the state for less than six months cannot file for divorce unless they live in one of the following counties: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Hidalgo, Travis, Webb, or Wharton. Divorcees who reside outside those counties, even temporarily, can still file for divorce under certain circumstances. But they must meet the same requirement as residents.Qualifying for Uncontested Divorce in Texas
The most common way to end a marriage is to simply walk away from it. This is known as an uncontested divorce since there is never a court hearing where each side presents its case against the other. Instead, the spouses reach a mutual agreement about how to split up their assets and liabilities. If they do not come to such an agreement, however, they can still file for an uncontested decree of divorce.
In fact, even though the paperwork is much simpler, filing for an uncontested divorce does require some work. There are three main steps to take:
- Filing the Petition
- Serving the Respondent
- Hearing the Case
To start the process, you'll need to fill out a form called the Original Answer Affidavit. You can download this form here. Once you've filled it out, you'll need to mail it to the county clerk's office along with a $15 filing fee. Then, you'll need to pay a small amount in postage to send copies of the document to the other party. However, because you're not actually requesting a trial, you don't have to serve them with a copy of the petition.Preparing Your Texas Divorce Forms
If you decide to go ahead with a divorce, it's important to know how to properly fill out the necessary forms. You can find the forms online, but you'll still want to print them out and keep a copy handy. Here's what you'll need to do:
- Print out the Petition for Divorce form. This is the form you'll use when you file your papers with the court.
- Print out the Affidavit of Nonpaternity form. If you've had a child during your marriage, you must complete this form.
- Print out the Inventory of Real Property form. This form lists all the assets you own together as husband and wife.
- Print out the Inventory Form for Personal Property. This form lists all of your personal belongings, like furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.
- Print out the Child Support Guidelines worksheet. This helps determine how much money each parent will pay for child support.
- Print out the Order Setting Aside Community Property Worksheet. This form determines how much of your joint property will remain separate.
If you are getting divorced in Texas, chances are you are already familiar with some of the paperwork involved in the process. But what about the rest of it? There are a number of different types of documents that need to be filled out correctly, and many people find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information required.
While most of the information needed is straightforward enough, there are certain things that might confuse you. For example, did you know that you must fill out a form called "Affidavit of Relinquishment"? Or that you must complete a form called "Application for Registration of Foreign Decree?" Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in helping people navigate the process, including those that offer online divorce services.
Online services work similarly to how traditional legal services work. They provide you with the necessary forms and then ask you to answer a few questions about yourself and your spouse. Based on your responses, the site will generate the appropriate forms and send them directly to you via email.
When you receive them, you simply sign them and return them to the site where they will be filed. Many of these sites charge a small monthly fee for their services, while others require a one-time payment. Either way, you won't have to worry about paying for someone else to do something that you could easily accomplish yourself.
An experienced divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.